Mayor's Leadership Inspires Teamwork for Breast Cancer Awareness
One of the priorities Mayor Johnson set .during his first few months as mayor was .to provide leadership in cancer prevention, especially breast cancer. He has taken a stand, along with many other mayors from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and joined with the Mississippi State Department of Health to help provide women with the information and resources needed to prevent cancer and to detect it at the earliest stages.
In supporting cancer issues, particularly breast cancer, he has attracted media attention to cancer concerns and influenced .legislation addressing these concerns. His vision has inspired city volunteers and state government initiatives that have impacted local and national cancer research funding and cancer awareness programs.
City/State Collaboration .Results in More Screening
Mayor Johnson and the Mississippi State Department of Health teamed up and .co-sponsored a press conference announcing breast and cervical cancer programs that allow for free screening of Greater Jackson Area women who, because of limited family income, may not have access to early breast screening services. The press conference was a huge success. After the joint announcement, the health department began screening almost twice as many women monthly, going from 25 to 30 participants a month to approximately 50.
City Employees Boost Fundraising
City of Jackson personnel participated .for the second time in Relay for Life. Sponsored by the American Cancer Society (ACS), this marathon event involves teams of volunteers from corporate, government, religious, and community groups who come together to walk or run to raise money for the fight against cancer. Two separate groups of volunteer city employees raised over $14,000 this year for the effort, one fourth of the total money generated .in the Hinds County Relay event overall. These proceeds will help to fund both .local cancer efforts and national research .to find a cure.
The mayor’s office also initiated an awareness campaign by displaying ACS posters .in City of Jackson restrooms. Placed in all buildings where city personnel work, these posters addressed breast self-examinations and mammography as well as prostate .cancer screening.
The Mississippi Witness Project, ACS, and the City
The Mississippi Witness Project is a culturally sensitive, community-based breast and cervical cancer education program .for African American women. It is designed to increase the number of women who practice regular cancer screening by having cancer survivors tell their stories. In preparation for working with this project, several City of Jackson staff members underwent ACS training to teach others to conduct breast self-exams – committing to train at least thirty groups. They then were able to team up with the Mississippi Witness Project to speak to women about the importance of early detection.
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